Wight Aviation Museum ready for grand opening

The Wight Aviation Museum is now ready for its ‘Grand Opening’ which will take place on Saturday, April 9, and Sunday, April 10 at Sandown Airport.

Over the last five years, an empty hangar has been transformed into a new museum by a dedicated team of volunteers. The museum will host displays of aviation and heritage artefacts, as well as stories being told of real people, such as Robert Lorraine, a famous actor and aviator and the first person to land an aircraft on the Island. It will also tell the story of Mary Ellis, the well known Second World War pilot who flew Spitfires and became ‘Commandant’ manager of Sandown Airport.

Displays at the museum include The Early Years of Wight Aviation, The Princess Flying Boat, and The Anatomy of a Spitfire, Mary Ellis and Crash sites of WWII.

The museum also offers an opportunity to participate in a ‘virtual flight’ around the Island. A Scottish Aviation Beagle Bulldog has been converted into a virtual reality flight simulator, using the aircraft’s control column, rudder pedals and throttle.

Outside is the Rocket Garden, the museum’s largest exhibit, where there is a full-size replica of the Black Arrow R3 rocket, which was designed, built and tested at Highdown on the Island. It successfully launched the Prospero satellite into a low earth orbit in October 1971 from Woomera, Australia.

A full-size replica of the Prospero satellite can be seen in the Black Arrow Rocket & Space display.

Everyone is welcome at the grand opening and entrance fee is donation only, with an expected donation of £4 per person. It will be open from 11am with last admission at 3pm.

For more information email wightaviationmuseum@gmail.com or phone or text 07949 704052 or visit wightaviationmuseum.org.uk.